GAINESVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 1, 2003--Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation, AGTC, a drug research company developing novel human therapeutics, announces that the Company has closed on a $15,250,000 Series A-1 Round led by InterWest Partners of Menlo Park, CA. Other participants in the round include InterSouth Partners, MedImmune Ventures, Inc. and Skyline Ventures.
The investment funds will be used by AGTC to complete Phase I Human Clinical Trials and Phase II/III manufacturing for its gene therapy treatment for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, Alpha-1, a form of emphysema.
Alpha-1 is a hereditary defect that causes early on-set emphysema in adults. Patients experience significant loss of daily function and shortened life spans. Alpha-1 is the most common potentially lethal hereditary disease of American and Northern European adults affecting approximately one in 2,500 white Caucasians. There are currently 82,000 symptomatic patients in the US and Europe and this number is expected to grow at 4% per year.
AGTC's treatment for Alpha-1 utilizes the Company's Adeno-Associated Virus technology to deliver the normal human gene to patients so their body can produce the missing protein. It is expected that all patients would be treated only once, stabilizing deterioration of lung function in those chronically affected. For newly diagnosed patients, treatment would presumably lead to prevention of lung abnormalities and symptom-free, normal life spans. "This (funding) is truly a momentous event; for individuals with Alpha-1, gene therapy offers tremendous hope." says John W. Walsh, President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation. "We are very optimistic that gene therapy will change the course of our lives. It is gratifying that the Foundation's seed grants helped provide funding and significantly contributed to the progress towards a true therapeutic solution."
This treatment is one of several human therapeutics under development by the Company that utilizes its proprietary AAV technology and production methods. AGTC has licensed a significant portion of its intellectual property from the University of Florida where researchers originated this ground-breaking work in gene therapy.
"The ability of our start-ups to generate capital has multiple benefits for our community and the university," said David Day, Director of the University's Office of Technology Licensing and Interim Director of the Sid Martin Biotech Incubator. "By starting more high-tech companies, we can enhance the economic base of our local economy by creating high-paying jobs and generating tax revenue. In turn, these successful companies generate royalties for the university which can be used to fund additional research. This also assists the university in recruiting and retaining top-level faculty who generate more research and new discoveries which can be the basis for additional start-up companies."
AGTC is based in the University's Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Incubator; this 35,000-sq. ft. facility provides start-up biotech companies with support essential for accelerating their launch into the marketplace. AGTC is one of many young biotechnology companies at the Incubator involved in the development of biotech products that will benefit our society while creating jobs to help Florida's economy.
Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation, Alachua, Fla. Susan B. Washer, 386-462-2204 firstname.lastname@example.org or
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